Ex-food deliveryman jailed for telling e-scooter users last year to start a riot after LTA announced ban

SINGAPORE - While working as a Foodpanda deliveryman, a man sent messages to his colleagues in two chat groups, rallying personal mobility device (PMD) users to gather at Punggol Park, arm themselves with weapons and cause injury to others.

Benny Mok Swee Tian committed the offence on Dec 30 last year, in the wake of the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) announcement prohibiting e-scooters on footpaths.

The 35-year-old Singaporean was sentenced on Friday (Oct 30) to eight weeks' jail and a fine of $500.

He had pleaded guilty earlier to creating an electronic record containing an incitement to commit acts of violence and an unrelated theft charge involving five comic books worth nearly $37 in total.

The court heard that Mok, who switched to becoming a social media marketing executive, had sent the messages one day before the end of an advisory period LTA gave to e-scooter users.

The advisory period, between Nov 5 and Dec 31 last year, was for e-scooter users to adjust to the new rule.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yong said that the first chat group had over 2,000 members and the second had more than 4,000.

One of Mok's colleagues saw the offender's message at 3.09pm in one chat group. In it, Mok proposed a "PMD riot" at Punggol Park to take place at 9pm on Dec 31 last year.

Somebody later forwarded to it to the other group, the court heard.

Mok, who was a member of both chat groups, responded at 3.22pm saying: "Bring parang. See (people) just bang and slice."

The colleague then alerted the police, as he was worried that the messages could incite acts of violence.

After an investigation, officers arrested Mok at the loading and unloading bay of Hougang Mall.

DPP Chong said that police resources were deployed to Punggol Park on Dec 31 last year but no violent incidents linked to the messages took place there that day.

In the other incident, the court heard that Mok stole five comic books from Books Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City shopping mall on Aug 22 last year.

He was caught after a security officer spotted him behaving suspiciously in the store.

On Friday, defence lawyer James Ow Yong told the court that his client is a "simple-minded individual" who did not realise the seriousness of his messages.

For making an electronic record containing an incitement to commit violence, Mok could have been jailed for up to five years and fined.

Offenders convicted of theft can be jailed for up to three years and fined.